It’s a beautiful sunny day.
You’re relaxed, lost in a daydream as you walk your dog through your neighborhood.
All of a sudden, two pit bulls come out of nowhere. Your poor lab is defenseless as they lunge, and tear at his neck. He’s on his back, yelping, and whimpering. They’ve got him in their jaws. You manage to kick one off (you hate it that you’re kicking a dog!) and the other one latches on.
They knock you over. You recover to your knees and keep trying to get them to stop. You’re yelling, screaming.
Finally, after what seems like ages, a good Samaritan intervenes.
After a visit to the vet and some stitches, your dog is thankfully ok. What about you?
Your dog doesn’t seem too shook up, but you are. You keep replaying the incident over and over in your head.
Years after, your heart rate still quickens and you get anxious and panic when you’re with your dog, and a loose dog approaches.
The definition of trauma is: “A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.”
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible event… Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.”
Trauma and PTSD aren’t just limited to war veterans. It includes anything that leaves you badly shaken up. And while some are more severe than others, they can all impair our overall well-being.
Perhaps while reading the example in the introduction, your brain flashed to something you experienced that left a mark. You distinctly remember what you were wearing, you remember how warped time became; did the situation last minutes? Hours?
The fact of the matter is, unresolved trauma doesn’t simply go away. It can take root in the body in all sorts of ways, from a physiological response such as anxiety and chronic pain.
From an evolutionary perspective, trauma and PTSD were intended to keep us alive. They teach us to avoid potentially dangerous and life-threatening situations, keeping them clear, crisp, and terrifyingly detailed in our brains.
Yet, as stated in PTSD: The Evolutionary Advantage
“… “The misery caused by a hyper-functional amygdala in PTSD is the cost of inheriting an evolutionarily primitive mechanism that considers survival more important than the quality of one’s life.” In fact, Zanette and her colleagues suggest that the only reason PTSD seems unnatural to us now is because as a species, we have progressively eliminated our predators.”
So, how do you restore your quality of life, and heal?
Here is a list and a brief description of 3 of the most effective treatment modalities currently used to treat trauma in a therapeutic setting:
Brainspotting is a technique developed in 2003 by David Grand, Ph.D.
The premise is that the brain stores the trauma, and as a consequence, the individual suffers. The goal of brainspotting is to help the brain release this trauma – free the experience – in a safe and supportive environment.
The technique involves your therapist using a spotter and finding a point within your field of vision that awakens the traumatic event. Your therapist will help you reckon with it, working with your brain to let go. Brainspotting is usually used in conjunction with other therapeutic interventions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR):
In an EMDR session, the patient focuses on a traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, usually through eye movements. As stated in this APA article, “EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thus reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms.”
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT):
CPT is a form of talk therapy with an educational element, in which a therapist helps the patient examine the trauma, and the associated thoughts, beliefs, and areas of life that were (and still are) affected. As the sessions progress, the patient is better able to see the incident differently – ideally in a way that doesn’t evoke much of an emotional response.
Depending on the individual, any or a combination of these are used.
At the Relationship Therapy Center, we have helped many people navigate past the clutches of their trauma using all of these techniques. We can help you do the same. We offer a free 15-minute consultation and are happy to answer any questions. If you’re suffering from trauma, it’s time to reclaim your life. You deserve a bright and happy future, one that’s not overshadowed by the clouds of your past.
Begin Trauma Therapy in Roseville, CA or Online:
Are you ready to find peace and healing after trauma? Our team is here to support you and provide high-quality evidence-based trauma treatment to people in the Sacramento Area and online for people living in the state of California. To begin trauma therapy in Roseville, CA or Fair Oaks, CA, please follow these steps:
Meet with one of our compassionate trauma therapists
Begin trauma treatment and regain control of your life.
Other Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to trauma therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.